In late 2005, the Pine Team felt that Pine was a very mature product. We wanted to reorganize the Pine source code, distribute the Web version that has been very popular here at the University of Washington, and relax our trademark obligation for source code quality control to a world-wide customer base.
The trademark obligation represented an ongoing administrative effort. Coincidentally, the UW is standardizing its license for the several other products we offer to the Apache License, Version 2.0.
The cleanest way to do all this was to stop developing Pine (a registered trademark) and start a new product that would be released under the Apache License, Version 2.0. Thus Alpine was born.
Among other things, the Apache License, Version 2.0 permits redistribution of modified versions whereas the old Pine license did not.
Why Alpine? We just liked the name and the closeness to Pine. The beautiful setting we enjoy here in the Pacific Northwest helped; that is Mt. Rainier on the Alpine logo.